'MAD' Moment: March 1987

July 28, 2010

Editor’s Note: The following was written by Rick Brown and first appeared in the March 14, 1987 edition of the Des Moines Register.

TUCSON, ARIZ. – Iowa suffocated underdog Santa Clara with its trademark press and advanced into the second round of the NCAA West Regional with a 99-76 victory at the McKale Center Friday.

After falling behind, 4-0, Iowa scorched the West Coast Athletic Conference postseason tournament champion Broncos with a 22-0 run. It was 51-22 at halftime, and the sixth-ranked Hawkeyes (28-4) led by as many as 37 points before it was over.

“That game was over pretty quick,” said Santa Clara Coach Carroll Williams, whose team ended the year 18-14. “We wanted to control the tempo, and we never did. Iowa is a poised and talented team.”

Said Iowa Coach Tom Davis, “We didn’t take Santa Clara lightly. We came out ready to play, and didn’t give them any breathing room. If we had not played that hard it might have been a totally different game.”

Iowa now meets Texas-El Paso (25-6) in a second-round game here Sunday at 6:10 p.m. CST. The Miners stunned host Arizona in overtime, 98-91. Coach Don Haskins’ team rallied from five points down in the final 50 seconds and forced the overtime with a shot by Chris Blocker at the buzzer.

Texas-El Paso won in the extra session despite having four players on the bench with five fouls.

“An amazing game,” said Davis. “I don’t know if Arizona could have played any better, so that tells you how good Texas-El Paso is. They are tough, big, physical, quick and deep, plus they’re well coached. They can shoot outside or play tough inside.”

Haskins said, “We didn’t see Iowa play in the first half, but I wish we could have. That was awesome. I would like Davis to play us like they played in the second half. Their press is as good as I’ve ever seen.”

“We didn’t take Santa Clara lightly. We came out ready to play, and didn’t give them any breathing room. If we had not played that hard it might have been a totally different game.”
Tom Davis

Kevin Gamble led the Hawks with 18 points, hitting all eight of his field goal attempts.

Roy Marble added 16 points and led Iowa with seven rebounds. Jeff Moe had 12 points and Ed Horton 11.

Jens Gordon scored 24 points to lead Santa Clara. Chris Lane had 18.

Davis made liberal use of his bench, as 11 Hawkeyes played between 11 and 22 minutes. Iowa’s starters went to the bench for good with 15 minutes remaining.

Marble, who led the Big Ten in field-goal percentage, scored 14 of his points in the first half, making seven of nine field goals. The entire Santa Clara team made just six in the first half, and needed 24 attempts to do it.

The Hawkeyes, the second-best field goal-shooting team in school history, shot 69.7 percent (23 of 33) in the first half and 58.7 for the game.

Friday’s result was much more pleasing to Marble than the events of a year ago.

Last season, with his team down a point late against North Carolina State in NCAA Midwest Regional first-round play, Marble had missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw situation. The Wolfpack won the game, 66-64.

“This morning, I had a few thoughts about last year’s game,” said Marble. “This year I was a little hungrier. I wanted to go out and play a lot better.

“I wanted to prove to myself that I’m capable of being on a winning team, at least one that could get past the first round. It felt good to be able to play as well as we did.”

Said Davis, “I’ve never had a team with this much balance, and we’re hard to prepare for because of that reason. But when the game is on the line Roy is at his best.

“He’s risen to the occasion all year. He’s just a sophomore, but he’s our veteran.”

Also, Friday’s victory was the first in NCAA Tournament play for Iowa since the 1983 team beat Utah State and Missouri. Iowa didn’t play in the 1984 tournament, lost to Arkansas by nine points in 1985 and to North Carolina State last year. The victory was Iowa’s largest in NCAA Tournament play since an 82-53 victory over Penn State in 1952.

“It probably helped these guys to go through what they have the last couple of years with the early exit from the tournament,” said Davis.

Iowa, the nation’s top rebounding team, won the battle of the boards, 43-23. Several second-chance baskets were part of the 22-point flurry, as were baskets after turnovers and on fast breaks.

Iowa made 10 of 14 shots during the run and committed no turnovers, while Santa Clara made just one of seven shots and committed seven turnovers, including five in a stretch of six consecutive possessions.

“With the press, we watch the ball and the guy’s eyes [taking it out],” said Marble. “You can tell whether or not he’s mixed up or confused and where he’s going to have to throw the ball. You have to read him, tighten up on him and try to deny him the ball as much as possible. Sooner or later, if he hasn’t gotten it in earlier, he’ll start to throw it away or get a 5-second call.”

“We thought it was important that we handle the press,” said Santa Clara’s Lane, “and not commit turnovers early in the game. We knew we had to be more effective against the press. But we had a lapse.”

Williams wouldn’t predict how far he thinks the Hawkeyes can go in the NCAA Tournament.

“I wouldn’t want to put any pressure on Tom,” he said. “We knew they were an excellent team coming in, and they did nothing to diminish that opinion.”

Sunday’s game with Texas-El Paso will be the fourth between the schools and the first since 1971.

The most memorable game between the two came in the initial meeting, in 1965. Iowa had an 8-0 record and was rated fourth in the country, the highest position for a Hawkeye team in the polls until this season.

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But the Hawkeyes tumbled to Haskins’ team 86-68. The school, then named Texas Western, went on to win the national championship.

This edition of the Miners plays a physical style of basketball familiar to those who watch action in the Big Ten.

“But I don’t think they’ll let us play Sunday,” Davis said. “The officials will call the game very closely.”

“I think Iowa’s physical play on the boards will be very difficult for Texas-El Paso to handle,” said Arizona Coach Lute Olson. “We ended up with 16 offensive boards without being what you would call a physical team. The way the Hawkeyes bang on the offensive glass, Texas-El Paso could be in trouble.

“But, if they get though the press, they might be able to hurt Iowa, because they are quick.”

Here’s a list of “MAD” Moments that have appeared previously inside hawkeyesports.com.